Will Clark

William Nuschler Clark, Jr. (born March 13, 1964) is a former first baseman in Major League Baseball best known for his years with the San Francisco Giants from 1986 to 1993. Clark was known by the nickname of "Will the Thrill." The nickname has often been truncated to simply, "The Thrill."[1]

After a sensational career at Jesuit High School in New Orleans, Clark attended Mississippi State University, where he continued to flourish. Clark was inducted into the Mississippi State University Hall of Fame in 2003.[2] Clark was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. He was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on April 26, 2007[3][4] and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame on August 1, 2008.[5]

He currently works in the San Francisco Giants front office[6] after spending five seasons as an advisor for the Arizona Diamondbacks.[7]

Will Clark
Willclark97
Will Clark on-deck during 1997 MLB season
First baseman
Born: March 13, 1964 (age 55)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 8, 1986, for the San Francisco Giants
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 2000, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Batting average.303
Hits2,176
Home runs284
Runs batted in1,205
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Will Clark
Medal record
Men's Baseball
Representing  United States
Olympic Games
Silver medal – second place 1984 Los Angeles Team

Olympics

Clark played a starring role for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team that yielded such future major leaguers as Barry Larkin and Mark McGwire. During the five-game Olympic tournament, Clark led the team in batting average (.429), hits (9), runs batted in (8) and tied for the team lead in home runs (3).

College

Playing for Mississippi State University, Clark was noted for his oft-imitated "sweet swing," said to be among the best in baseball. In 1985, The Sporting News named Clark an All-American and he later won the Golden Spikes Award from USA Baseball as the best amateur baseball player in the country. A teammate of Rafael Palmeiro, the two were known as "Thunder and Lightning."[8] Clark and Palmeiro were known to dislike each other, dating back to their time at Mississippi State.[9]

Major leagues

San Francisco Giants (1986–93)

Clark was drafted with the second overall pick in the 1985 Major League Baseball draft by the San Francisco Giants.[10] In his inaugural major league at-bat on April 8, 1986, Clark debuted with a home run—off future Hall of Fame member Nolan Ryan.[10] A few days later, Clark also homered in his first home game at Candlestick Park (he debuted at age 22, wearing the number 22, playing first base). An elbow injury cost Clark 47 games in his rookie season.[10] Clark finished his rookie year with a respectable .287 batting average.

Will Clark preparing to bat during seventh inning of 12 August 1992 game between San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros
Clark prepares to bat during a 1992 game at Candlestick Park.

Over the next six seasons, Clark would establish himself as the premier first baseman in the National League. In his first full season in 1987, Clark had a .308 batting average. Clark was voted the starting first baseman for the NL All-Star team every season from 1988 through 1992. In 1988, Clark was the first Giants' player to drive in 90 or more runs in consecutive seasons since Bobby Murcer from 1975-1976.

His finest season was in 1989, when he batted .333 (losing the batting title to Tony Gwynn on the final day of the season) with 111 RBI. Clark finished second in the NL Most Valuable Player voting to Giants teammate Kevin Mitchell.

In 1989, Clark and the Giants defeated the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series. In Game 1, Clark had already hit a solo home run. Prior to a subsequent at-bat, Cubs' catcher Rick Wrona went to the mound to discuss with Greg Maddux how to pitch to Clark. From the on-deck circle, Clark watched the conversation and read Greg Maddux's lips saying "fastball high, inside." The first pitch was a fastball high and inside which Clark sent into the street beyond right field for a grand slam. Afterwards, pitchers began to cover their mouths with their gloves when having conversations on the pitcher's mound.[11] (The Chicago Tribune's front page the next day paid tribute to his performance with a headline of "Clark's night on Addison.")[12]

In Game 5 of the series, Clark faced Cubs closer Mitch Williams with the score 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning. After an epic at-bat, with several two-strike foul balls keeping the duel alive for several minutes, Clark singled to center field to drive in two runs, breaking the tie, eventually sending the Giants to the World Series. Clark's efforts, which included a .650 batting average and two home runs, resulted in him being named NLCS MVP. The Giants went on to face the Oakland Athletics in the 1989 World Series, but were swept. In the only World Series appearance of his career, Clark failed to contribute significantly at the plate, finishing with no runs batted in and a .250 batting average while battling tonsillitis.[13]

Clark had become a very durable player since his rookie year injury, setting a San Francisco record with 320 consecutive games played from September 1987 through August 1989.[10] However, a string of injuries reduced his playing time in the early 1990s and diminished his production. Clark drove in just 73 runs in 1992, the lowest total since his rookie year.[14]

Clark's contract with the Giants expired after the 1993 season.

Texas Rangers (1994–98)

The Texas Rangers signed Clark to replace his former Mississippi State teammate, Rafael Palmeiro, at first base. Clark made the American League All-Star team in 1994[14] and finished the season with a .329 batting average, the second-highest of his career. He maintained a high level of offensive production throughout his tenure with Texas, finishing below .300 only in 1996. Injuries limited his playing time to 123, 117 and 110 games from 1995 through 1997, but Clark led the Rangers to American League West Division titles in 1996 and 1998. Clark struggled offensively in both the 1996 and 1998 postseasons, though he put together his most productive regular season in seven years in 1998 (.305, 23 HRs, 41 2Bs, 102 RBIs). Following the 1998 season, the Rangers re-signed Rafael Palmeiro, effectively ending Clark's days with the team.

Baltimore Orioles and St. Louis Cardinals (1999–2000)

Clark signed a two-year deal with the Orioles before the 1999 season, again replacing Palmeiro, who had left Baltimore to return to Texas. Clark spent nearly two years with Baltimore but was plagued by injuries. On June 15, Clark got his 2000th hit versus the Kansas City Royals.

Clark was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals near the end of the 2000 season, acquired in part to play in place of the injured Mark McGwire. A rejuvenated Clark (.964 OPS) helped the Cardinals defeat the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS. In the NLCS, the Cardinals faced the New York Mets, who would go on to win the pennant. Clark performed better in these playoffs. After announcing that his retirement would come when the Cardinals' playoff run ended, Clark went 1 for 3 in his final game on October 16, 2000.

Legacy

Clark was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. He was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame on April 26, 2007[3][4] and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame on August 1, 2008.[5]

Clark has final statistics of 284 home runs, 1,205 RBI, a .303 batting average, and a .881 OPS. In 2006 Hall of Fame balloting, Clark received 23 votes, 4.4% of the total, which withdrew him from consideration from future ballots, as he did not receive the required 5% threshold to stay on.[15]

Honors

  • USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award (1985)
  • National League All-Star 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992[14]
  • American League All-Star 1994[14]
  • MVP of the 1989 National League Championship Series
  • Two-time National League Silver Slugger Award at First base (1989 and 1991).
  • 1991 National League Gold Glove Award at First Base.
  • On July 4, 2006, Clark was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in its inaugural class.
  • Inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
  • Inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

See also

References

  1. ^ BaseballEvolution.com Hall of Fame
  2. ^ Mississippi State University M-Club Alumni Association & Sports Hall of Fame
  3. ^ a b "Hall of Fame Inductees (2007)". Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.
  4. ^ a b FitzGerald, Tom (27 April 2007). "New inductees remember / Rice, ex-Giant Clark among those recalling their finest hours". San Francisco Chronicle.
  5. ^ a b "News – MS Sports Hall of Fame and Museum". Archived from the original on February 25, 2012. Retrieved 2010-04-01.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  6. ^ Chris Haft (January 28, 2009). "Giants add Clark with front-office post 'The Thrill' played in San Francisco for eight seasons". MLB.com. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  7. ^ "Giants hire Will Clark as assistant". Yahoo! Sports. January 28, 2009. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
  8. ^ http://maroonandwhitenation.com/2015/04/29/sec-storied-thunder-lightning-to-premiere-monday/ SEC Storied: Thunder & Lightning to Premiere Monday
  9. ^ Chass, Murray (9 March 1994). "BASEBALL; Thoughts Deep in the Heart of Texas". New York Times. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d The Ballplayers – Will Clark | BaseballLibrary.com Archived 2007-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Stark, Jayson. "Talk to the glove!", ESPN (Aug 22, 2013).
  12. ^ Chicago Tribune, October 5, 1989, page A1
  13. ^ "Raspy, Feverish, Will Clark Skips Batting Practice". Los Angeles Times. October 16, 1989.
  14. ^ a b c d Will Clark Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
  15. ^ Will Clark Statistics – The Baseball Cube

External links

1985 College Baseball All-America Team

An All-American team is an honorary sports team composed of the best amateur players of a specific season for each team position—who in turn are given the honorific "All-America" and typically referred to as "All-American athletes", or simply "All-Americans". Although the honorees generally do not compete together as a unit, the term is used in U.S. team sports to refer to players who are selected by members of the national media. Walter Camp selected the first All-America team in the early days of American football in 1889.The NCAA recognizes two different All-America selectors for the 1985 college baseball season: the American Baseball Coaches Association (since 1947) and Baseball America (since 1981).

1986 San Francisco Giants season

The 1986 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 104th season in Major League Baseball, their 29th season in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their 27th at Candlestick Park. The team finished in third place in the National League West with an 83-79 record, 13 games behind the Houston Astros.

1987 National League Championship Series

The 1987 National League Championship Series took place between October 6 and 14 at Busch Memorial Stadium (Games 1, 2, 6, and 7) and Candlestick Park (Games 3, 4, and 5). It matched the East division champion St. Louis Cardinals (95–67) against the West division champion San Francisco Giants (90–72), with the Cardinals winning in seven games. The Cardinals would go on to lose the 1987 World Series to the Minnesota Twins, also in seven games.

San Francisco's Jeffrey Leonard was named the Series MVP despite the fact that his Giants lost the series. Oddly enough, this was the second consecutive year that the NLCS MVP came from the losing team, as Mike Scott had won the award with the Houston Astros the previous year. However, to date, Leonard is the last MVP of any postseason series (League Championship Series or World Series) to have played for the losing team. There is no MVP awarded for the wildcard round or division series.

1988 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1988 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 59th playing of the "Midsummer Classic" between Major League Baseball's American League (AL) and National League All-Star teams. The All-Star Game was held on July 12, 1988, at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, the home of the NL's Cincinnati Reds.

The game resulted in the AL defeating the NL 2-1. Terry Steinbach, a catcher for the AL's Oakland Athletics, won the All-Star game's most valuable player award. Steinbach was credited with both of the AL's two runs in the game. Frank Viola of the Minnesota Twins was the winning pitcher.

1988 San Francisco Giants season

The 1988 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 106th season in Major League Baseball, their 31st season in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their 29th at Candlestick Park. The team finished in fourth place in the National League West with an 83-79 record, 11½ games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

1989 National League Championship Series

The 1989 National League Championship Series was played between the National League West champion San Francisco Giants and the National League East champion Chicago Cubs. The Giants won the series four games to one, en route to losing to the Oakland Athletics in four games in the 1989 World Series.

1990 San Francisco Giants season

The 1990 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 108th season in Major League Baseball, their 33rd season in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their 31st at Candlestick Park. The team finished in third place in the National League West with an 85-77 record, 6 games behind the Cincinnati Reds.

1991 San Francisco Giants season

The 1991 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 109th season in Major League Baseball, their 34th season in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season, and their 32nd at Candlestick Park. The team finished in fourth place in the National League West with a 75-87 record, 19 games behind the Atlanta Braves.

1992 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1992 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 63rd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 14, 1992, at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, the home of the San Diego Padres of the National League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 13–6.

1994 Texas Rangers season

The 1994 Texas Rangers season was cut short by the infamous 1994 player's strike. At the time when the strike began, the Rangers were leading the American League West with a record of 52 wins and 62 losses.

2000 Baltimore Orioles season

The 2000 Baltimore Orioles season involved the Orioles finishing 4th in the American League East with a record of 74 wins and 88 losses.

2000 St. Louis Cardinals season

The St. Louis Cardinals 2000 season was the team's 119th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 109th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 95-67 during the season, their best finish since 1987, and won the National League Central division by ten games over the Cincinnati Reds. In the playoffs the Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves 3 games to 0 in the NLDS but lost to the New York Mets 4 games to 1 in the NLCS.

The Cardinals sweep of the Braves in the NLDS was notable because it made the Mets run to their first World Series appearance since their championship season of 1986 much easier. The Braves had eliminated the Mets from the playoffs on the final day of the 1998 season and in the 1999 NLCS.Catcher Mike Matheny and outfielder Jim Edmonds won Gold Gloves this year. Matheny was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays during the off-season, while Edmonds was acquired from the Anaheim Angels less than a week before the start of the season.

John Hoover (baseball)

John Nicklaus Hoover (December 22, 1962 – July 8, 2014) was the Major League Baseball No. 25 draft choice in the first round in 1984 (by Baltimore), after having led the nation in strikeouts in college baseball, pitching 205 strikeouts for Fresno State in his senior year. Also in 1984 Hoover was a starting pitcher for the United States Olympic baseball team, winning the opening game and helping the US to win the silver medal for baseball. His teammates on the Olympic team included Mark McGwire, Barry Larkin, Will Clark, and Oddibe McDowell.

In 1983, Hoover pitched the opening game at the IX Pan American Games, for an 8-0 victory over the Dominican Republic, helping to win the bronze medal for the United States team.Hoover played for the Texas Rangers in the 1990 season, but had a shortened pro-baseball career due to injuries sustained as a college player. He died on July 8, 2014 apparently of natural causes.

List of San Francisco Giants first-round draft picks

The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in San Francisco, California. They play in the National League West division. Officially known as the "First-Year Player Draft", the Rule 4 Draft is MLB's primary mechanism for assigning players from high schools, colleges, and other amateur clubs to its franchises. The draft order is determined based on the previous season's standings, with the team possessing the worst record receiving the first pick. In addition, teams which lost free agents in the previous off-season may be awarded compensatory or supplementary picks. Since the establishment of the draft in 1965, the Giants have selected 68 players in the first round.Of those 68 players, 32 have been pitchers, the most of any position; 23 of these were right-handed, while 9 were left-handed. The Giants have also selected twelve outfielders, seven shortstops, six catchers, four third basemen, and three players each at first and second base. One player, 2010 selection Gary Brown, was drafted as a center fielder. The franchise has drafted eight players from colleges or high schools in their home state of California, more than any other. The Giants have never held the first-overall pick, but they did have the second pick in 1985, with which they drafted Will Clark.Four of San Francisco's first-round draft picks have won three World Series championships with the team—Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, and Buster Posey—all as part of the 2010, 2012 and 2014 championship teams. Two of the Giants' selections have won the National League Rookie of the Year Award: Gary Matthews (drafted in 1968) won in 1973; and Posey (drafted in 2008) won the award in 2010. Posey was also named the National League's Most Valuable Player in 2012. Three of the Giants selections have been named the Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series; Matthews in 1983 with Philadelphia, Clark in 1989 and Bumgarner in 2014. Bumgarner was also named Most Valuable Player of the 2014 World Series. Lincecum, the Giants' 2006 selection, won the Cy Young Award—awarded annually to the best pitcher in each league—in 2008 and 2009.San Francisco has made 16 selections in the supplemental round of the draft. They have also received 12 compensatory picks since the first draft in 1965. These additional picks are provided when a team loses a particularly valuable free agent in the previous off-season, or, more recently, if a team fails to sign a draft pick from the previous year. The Giants have failed to sign two of their first-round selections: 1979 pick Rick Luecken; and 1996 pick Matt White. The Giants did not receive any compensation for Luecken, but they did receive the 49th pick in 1997 for failing to sign White.

Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball

The Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball team is the varsity intercollegiate baseball team representing Mississippi State University in NCAA Division I college baseball. The program is a member of the West Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The current head coach is Chris Lemonis, who replaced interim head coach Gary Henderson. It has appeared in the College World Series 10 times, most recently in 2018. They earned their highest finish in their 2013 CWS appearance, losing in the finals to UCLA, finishing the season with a consensus No. 2 ranking, the highest in program history.

St. Louis Ambush (2013–)

The St. Louis Ambush is a professional indoor soccer team based in St. Charles, Missouri. They are the second team to use this name. This version of the Ambush play in the Major Arena Soccer League while the original St. Louis Ambush played in the National Professional Soccer League.The current ownership group of the Ambush is Shelly and Will Clark, Tony Glavin and Dr. Elizabeth Perez.

Will Clark (actor)

Will Clark (born March 9, 1968) is an American gay pornographic film actor. He is a member of the Grabby Awards Hall of Fame and has received a special citation from the GayVN Awards for his fundraising work in support of HIV/AIDS charities.

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